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Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Ruffian Handicap

- I like Dale Roman’s shipper Halory Leigh in the Grade 1 Ruffian at Belmont today. It’s her second race off a nine month layoff, and the return was a fine one, running second to Grade 1 winner Dream of Summer in the one mile G3 Gardenia at Ellis Park. I think she’ll love the switch to this one-turn mile and a sixteenth distance at Belmont. She dominated and achieved Beyers of 103 and 107 in two one-turn races in Kentucky last fall, including the G2 Churchill Downs Distaff, in which she beat Ballerina winner Lady Tak by 5 widening lengths, with fillies like Island Sand and My Trusty Cat finishing further back.

She’ll need some pace up front, and I’m looking to Capeside Lady and Stellar Jayne to provide it. One thing we know about the former is that she loves two turns at Monmouth, but this is a different game today. Stellar Jayne makes her second start of the year, and I don’t know how much she could have gotten out of the easy win in her July return from her third in the BC Distaff, which was against 3 hopelessly outclassed foes. Nonetheless she, along with Society Selection, are the class of the field and if they both fire their best shots, then I’ll be in the recently familiar position of chasing the favorites home. But at a price like her 6-1 morning line and given her recent improvement and one-turn form, I’ll take a shot on Halory Leigh.

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